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Showdown at the BK corral! Williamsburg board snubs on-street bike parking

Showdown at the BK corral! Williamsburg board snubs on-street bike parking
You would prefer this?: Tutu’s co-owner Jason Merritt thinks bike corrals would help cut down on the blight of abandoned bikes in industrial Williamsburg.
Photo by Elizabeth Graham

A local panel is not letting any more Williamsburg and Greenpoint parking spaces get turned over to bike racks without a fight.

On Tuesday night, the board voted against four bike corrals proposed for the area overseen by Community Board 1 because each of them would replace an on-street parking spot. The vote was 12–7 against the bids, not because of the merits of the individual proposals, but because the War on Cars has got to stop, one board member said.

“Enough is enough,” said board member Simon Weiser. “They can put it on the sidewalk and stop taking away car parking spaces.”

The corrals are a city initiative to place bike racks on the street rather than on the sidewalk. Businesses can currently request corrals in front of their storefronts and partner with the city to maintain them. Each corral is designed to hold eight bicycles.

The four businesses that requested the corrals are Summers Juice and Coffee on S. Fourth Street, Tutu’s, a bar on Bogart Street, Bike Smith II, a bicycle store on Grand Street, and the CrossFit Virtuosity gym at on Bayard Street, all in Williamsburg.

The proprietor of one rejected business said that he wanted a bike corral to help rid the area of the eyesore created by two-wheelers locked willy-nilly to poles, to spare pedestrians the hazard posed by such wanton steed-hitching, and to make customers’ bikes more difficult to steal.

“We believe it is our responsibility to beautify the area,” said Tutu’s co-owner Jason Merritt. “And it is beneficial to businesses to have safe bike parking that is not on street signs and posts.”

Board members who voted against the corrals argued that there is plenty of room on sidewalks for bike parking and that their turf has lost too many parking spaces to the CitiBike bike-share program and the planned de-mapping of Union Avenue in the middle of McCarren Park, which is meant to make the greensward more pedestrian-friendly. Parking is now more difficult than it was a few years ago, Weiser argued.

“We need to keep the parking we have,” he said.

The businesses that applied for the corral said they were baffled by the snub.

“It is worrying and confusing to me that any community board would side against alternative transportation and neighborhood beautification,” said Merritt.

The community board’s vote is advisory and the city can still proceed with the corral project if it wants to.

Reach reporter Danielle Furfaro at dfurfaro@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-2511. Follow her at twitter.com/DanielleFurfaro.

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